Monday, September 19, 2011
Red State (2011)
Kevin Smith's first foray into horror films deals with an insane and over-the-top religious cult. Which is kind of ironic in and of itself because that's how most of his fans are: nuts and cult-like. The acting is top notch and it paints a pretty horrific picture (not in an overly gory way but more because of the extreme characterizations). It's a worthwhile watch that is captivating from start to finish. And it has a practical message that you aren't force fed or beaten over the head with.
Our film begins with a trio of teenage boys using the interwebs to browse profiles, rate, and (hopefully) coax some fine sophisticated woman into having sex with the three of them. In this day and age of readily available porn and unmonitored kids this idea, while initially seeming silly, actually made sense given my feelings on kids today (I'm becoming an old crotchety bastard) and their insatiable needs of instant gratification. A woman of particular interest responds back to them via email and they set up a rendezvous for later that night.
After commandeering a family ride, they drive out to Nowheresville and quickly learn that they aren't going to get to bang bedposts. Instead, they're knocked out, bound and hauled off to a local preacher's church. When one of them comes to, we see him being wheeled out in a cage with a blanket draped over it, his screams drowned out by a congregation's singing.
Here is where Smith shows a surprising amount of restraint: instead of going off on some wild rant about organized religion, how it's brainwashed the whole of humanity or how its been responsible for more bad deeds than good, we learn that what actually drew the group out of the compound and into the hands of the FBI was not a perceived act of divine intervention. But rather it was a perfectly explainable, of this world, type of occurrence. I think you can draw your own inferences here about what he's trying to say.
Not a film classic for sure but certainly not worthy of some of the negative pub its received, Red State may pleasantly surprise you. For a filmmaker that's prone to over the top-ness and copious amounts of dick and fart jokes, I found this interesting and unexpected.
Cortez the Killer